Archive for March, 2008

Newbie Mistress of My Domain

Posted on March 29, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , |

Late last year, I finally snagged my name as a domain. Someone who shares that name must have let it slip through her fingers. Claiming it was satisfying, but I can’t help wondering about her. Is she out there somewhere kicking herself? I would be.

But mostly now, I’m in the process of coming up with a website that says “I’m a writer and I’m legit.” Potential sources that I cold-call will be able to look me up, even though I don’t have any published books yet. I probably should have done this a long time ago.

A web-savvy friend offered to point me in the right direction, even though I can’t afford his services to design the thing outright. He sent me to draw up a site map, write up “assets” (copy) and click through templates and stock photos.

Building a website seems to have something in common with building and decorating a house. All the decisions to be made about what will be comfortable, yet make a good impression.

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Lady Macbeth’s Motivation?

Posted on March 19, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

A recent Saturday, we went to the Brooklyn Academy of Music to see Patrick Stewart play a Cold War-version of Macbeth. Richard Termine photo of Kate Fleetwood and Patrick Stewart in Macbeth

Always a cipher to me is Lady Macbeth. In this production, she is played slinky and elegant by Kate Fleetwood. I’ve always wondered about Lady M’s motivation. After all, the witches said that Macbeth would be king. They’ve got a good track record. Why not let destiny take its course?

Is it because Macbeth isn’t getting any younger? Or are the Macbeths deeply insulted by Duncan’s paltry-to-them reward after the battle? Is she frustrated with living in a patriarchal society? Why all the rage?

That’s when my imagination spins possibilities. Was she from some barbarian tribe in which warriors advance via murder? Did she have a sexual history with King Duncan? And would Macbeth have known? And just how “whipped” was Macbeth anyway? Not in “The Honeymooners” sense of the word but in the “Body Heat” connotation?

I’m not sure the answer is in the text. But I find the possibilities fascinating to contemplate.

photo by Richard Termine

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Lost Souls on The Wire

Posted on March 11, 2008. Filed under: Cop TV, horses, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Ordinarily, I’d be writing about horses here. And, as odd as it is to imagine, HBO’s gritty urban blight series “The Wire” had a horse in its final couple of episodes.

Duquan from HBO’s “The Wire”Teenaged Duquan (“Dukie”) joins forces with an Arabber, one of the now only-in-Baltimore street vendors who work out of horse-drawn carts. Although the Arrabber on the show collects scrap metal, the few that remain in real life Baltimore reportedly sell fresh produce in neighborhoods not serviced by supermarkets. FWIW, that street horse looked healthier than some of the characters.

Anyway, I won’t spoil any more surprises for the only-on-DVD crowd, but Dukie’s situation provoked emotional reactions among Wire fans.

We’ll probably feel sad for a day or two and then move on. After all, Dukie is a fictional character. But I wonder how many Dukies are out there, also having been born under an unlucky star?

Show co-creator David Simon posted a message to Wire fans that was part “thank you” note and part call-to- arms.

“The Wire is about the America we pay for and tolerate,” Simon said in his letter. “Perhaps it is possible to pay for, and demand, something more.”

But the show also demonstrates that those who try to change the system end up either damaged, corrupted or both. So, the terrible truth is that it’s much easier and smarter for us to weep for Dukie — and then move on. Or to outlaw the Arabbers with the intent of protecting the horses.

It’s possible that more people look out for the street horses than the street kids like Dukie.

photo from HBO

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RSS to the Rescue?

Posted on March 9, 2008. Filed under: blogs, writing | Tags: , |

Squirrel in Our Backyard

Photo by Rhonda Lane

I try to keep up with my favorite blogs but it can be tough. Real Life gets in the way of Virtual Life.

So, it’s RSS to the rescue. Because I don’t check my Google and Yahoo accounts often, I have it sent to my main email. Apparently not all blogs do that. So, I just click on over to the over to the blog itself where I do my reading. A post from several days ago, especially on a busy daily blog, may catch my eye so I might comment. But then I get a knuckle-rapping message for being late.

My virtual tail drops between my legs as I slink back to where I feel more welcome. Maybe there’s something good to be said for blogs not posting every day? A little laid-back atmosphere?

So, I RSS when I can. But then there’s something else I miss in RSS posts — the fancy design layout (theme/template) that so many bloggers pay such good money for.

Those layouts, to me, are like a restaurant’s decor. Yup, I go for the food and the fact that someone else does my dishes, but I also go for the atmosphere. Otherwise, I’d just order takeout and eat at home in
front of the TV. Some RSS feed posts do show up with some design elements, but I still feel like I’ve pulled up to the Chili’s To-Go window again.

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Slowing down for Florrida

Posted on March 7, 2008. Filed under: blogs, Florrida, Uncategorized, WordPress, writing | Tags: , , |

I needed to make a new category. I was tired. So, now we have a new state. Florrida. And because it’s a category, I can’t correct it.

This is symbolic of a larger issue for me. A daily blog, especially of all-horse-stuff,  is gonna grind me down to a nub. Don’t get me wrong – I love it. But I spent a couple of hours yesterday on a short post.

I’m not schizophrenic, but I hear the voices of my old editors:

“I can’t use this if you don’t have art. (photos)”

“Get another source to corroborate this.”

“Use something timely. Save the evergreen stuff.”

You can take the girl out of journalism, but you can’t take the journalism out of the girl.

So, I wanted to create content for today, to have “money in the bank.” So the Old Editors’ Voices start up again. What’s going on now? Hunt, search. Oh, let’s do that. Click. click. Now doublecheck it. Get some art. Make it fun. Get yourself out of the story. Write it tight. Put yourself into the story. Oh, right — a category.

Florrida.

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Feel better soon, Patrick

Posted on March 6, 2008. Filed under: horse people, horse stories, horses, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Most current accounts of Patrick Swayze’s illness refer to his career on stage and screen. Here, we will note him as another horse lover. One of us. Patrick is an expert equestrian, breeder and fancier of Arabian horses.

Click on this page to see the famous Polly Knoll photo of him and his stallion Tammen. I didn’t include the photo in this post because I’m still hazy about the copyright issues.

And here’s more information about Swayze’s love of Egyptian Arabian horses .

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A Follow-Up to an Old Story

Posted on March 5, 2008. Filed under: horses, KY, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , |

CH Gypsy Supreme - KY Horse Park Hall of ChampionsA couple of years ago, I wrote an essay on spec that I sent to a Kentucky business magazine called The Lane Report . (No relation, BTW. My married name is Lane, though.) When you read it, you’ll be able to tell that it all comes from the heart. Here’s a follow-up.

I still go for monthly blood draws, but I see different nurses now. For about the past year, I hardly ever saw the nurse featured in the article. BTW, I never told her about the story. Anyway, I saw her Thursday. She asked, “Been to Kentucky lately?” I replied that I was going in May, but that I had skipped a year. Then she said, “Don’t you still have family there?” I said that I did, but didn’t add that my parents are deceased and I’m an only child. And then she scolded me for not going to see familyLittle girl petting horse at Kentucky Horse Park.

My relatives and a lot of my old friends from Kentucky travel but don’t come up to see me. The invitation is there. I’ve even heard about some going on a “leaf peeper” tour of New England. Did I get a call when they went? No.

So, I shot back, “They come up here and don’t tell me.” Then, I added, “Besides, if I contacted them, they wouldn’t let me do the horse stuff.”

Then, I thought I’d better save face. So, I told her that I was planning a horse blog. I’d be going down to work, I said. I wouldn’t have time to see everybody anyway.

Because, as I didn’t add, if I visit one, then I have to go all over northern Kentucky and southern Ohio to see them all. And then horses would get squeezed out, again. Which was the story of most of my years in Kentucky. Even those few friends who had been into horses have gotten out. For them, it’s all part of the past. Reminders of hard dirty work and some injuries, as well.
What an irony — to have to move to Connecticut to be able to get to do horse things in Kentucky every once in a while.

This time, she didn’t ask me about real estate ads, as I described in the article. Maybe she’s given up on her dream? So maybe that’s why she took a potshot at mine?

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The Adams Family

Posted on March 4, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

At 650 pages, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of John Adams intimidated the bejeezus out of me. But it’s gotta be exciting, though, or Tom Hanks wouldn’t have selected it for one of his productions, a mini-series that debuts on HBO — not PBS, not Discovery — but HBO in a couple of weeks. So, when I spotted a copy of the book at Costco, I claimed it for my cart. I figured I’d get a headstart before the series begins.

Hanks cast Laura Linney as Abigail and Paul Giamatti (yeah, the guy from “Sideways”) as John. Here’s a photo from the HBO website. Aren’t they adorable?

Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney as John and Abigail Adams in the HBO mini-series “John Adams”

I dove into the book to get a head start. The book is as advertised, a vital depiction of the formerly dusty ol’ American Revolution. Soon I saw what the fuss was about. Who knew there’d be so much “story” in “history?”

But what impresses me the most is the eloquence of the Adamses. Quotes from their letters reveal the precision and simplicity of their prose. Check it out.

Here’s an easy2 remember one from John: “Facts are stubborn things.” So many of us can relate to Abigail when she writes: “My bursting heart must find vent at my pen.” Amen, sister. I feel your pain.

Now I’m not just caught up in the story, but I’m reading with the pathetic hope that John and Abigail’s command of the language will rub off on me. But my words seem more like Wayne and Garth’s:

I am not worthy.

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Learning blogging 2

Posted on March 3, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I need to figure out some of this blogging mechanics stuff. I had another topic in mind for today but couldn’t find the “images” I wanted.

I need to make this process more efficient. So, I’m off to find what I need — of course, I’ll share my findings. 🙂

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Parlez vous blogspeak?

Posted on March 2, 2008. Filed under: blogs, writing | Tags: , , |

I’ve found a really instructive website. Don’t be put off by all the advertising emphasis. You’ll find informative articles for beginners here, too.

One of the frustrations of looking up info has been knowing what to call something. Like the pictures. They’re not called “photos” or “graphics” or “illustrations” or “art” (the newspaper term for photos). For websites and blogs, they’re “images.” Hokay. Now we’re cookin’. A searchin’ we shall go.

The same goes for the WordPress FAQ. You’ve gotta know the jargon. The WP FAQ is quite thorough, really. But you have to know what something is called in “blogspeak” to find it in the search. So, I open up another tab, go to Google and search around until I find a word that matches the idea I want, get the term and then search the FAQ.

All this reminds me of the old joke about having to know how to spell a word to look it up on the dictionary. Or having to figure out the phone company’s categorizing of businesses to use the yellow pages.

I don’t need to work crossword puzzles to keep my mind sharp – I’m learning a new language.

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